Saturday, February 3, 2018

Cashmerettte Rivermont Review

I know, it's crazy. Two blog posts from me within days ;-)

Here I am in my Cashmerette Rivermont dress. In the bathroom at work. So classy. My face says it all, no?

Obligatory pattern cover.

And line drawings.

And size chart.

Since I don't fit into any one size on the size chart, I do the morph-o-roo between a few sizes. Following the Cashmerette instructions to choose by my bust size doesn't work for me. I end up with a too-wide neckline and a bodice that falls off my shoulders. So, I pick for my bust size but ALSO for my upper chest/shoulder size by blending smaller for those areas. For Rivermont, that meant between 14-16 (C/D cup) at neck/upper chest and underarm, outward to the 20 at waist/hip. Kind of like my "cheater FBA" but in this instance it's my "cheater NSA" (narrow shoulder adjustment). (And OMG, now that I've typed NSA twice, should I be worried? Hah.) You can see what I did looking at the yellow highlighting below.

This gives me a pretty good fit throughout shoulders, underarm, and bust, no?

Overall, I like the pattern and think it's drafted well, and I do recommend it. But I do have a couple of mostly minor complaints. First up, is the pocket. While I love pockets, especially in my work clothes, the Rivermont pocket is HUGE. Immediately below looking at the pattern pieces, you may be able to get the general idea of how deep this pocket is. Look how close the bottom of the pocket is relative to the back vent.

Or, if that doesn't tell you the story, look at this photo, where, with my hand to the bottom of the pocket bag, half of my forearm is in the pocket too. That is a deep pocket! It's easily shortened for next time, though, so not a deal breaker by any means.

While I'm talking about the pockets, I'll point out that I used a black tech knit for the pocket facing. The main fabric is fairly lofty and textured and I thought a smoother fabric would be a better choice. It is. I really like how the pockets feel with my hands in them - the techno knit (same as I used for my black Hudson pants) is so nice. The main fabric is also awesome! I used exactly zero creative imagination for it, since it was part of a Rivermont kit offered by Cashmerette. I just fell in love with it when I saw it. It was a little pricier than I usually go for, but very worth it. It's definitely quality stuff.

The other nit I want to pick about the pattern is the neckline facings. If you've been reading my blog for any amount of time, you'll know my feelings on facings for knits. Hint: Not a favorite. At all. The front facing is kind of wimpy. It's nice that it's sewn into the shoulder and armhole seams, but that wasn't enough to tame it.

I understitched it. I pressed the heck out of it. Sat the clapper on it. And even left it pinned on Zillie for days. It wasn't enough.

So I brought out the big guns ... my elastic thread. Which I pulled through the channel created by the understitching, just enough to make it taut. Similar to my Gaping Neckline Fix, here.

And I added Steam-A-Seam under the facing edges to "glue" them down so they wouldn't move. The neckline now lays flat and the facing remains in place. I still hate facings though. (You can also clearly see how deep the pockets are.)

The back lays better, because it's a bit deeper and is going over a more convex curve of my upper back which holds it in place better than the more concave curve of a typical female upper chest. Also, pattern matching like a BOSS. Hehehe...

Here's my finished dress on Zillie (sans hem). Front neckline flat? Check. Not too wide? Check.

And another wonderful bathroom selfie. (I know I'm getting ancient, but that lighting really does me no favors. Ugh.) This will be a great multi-seasonal addition to my wardrobe. And so comfy too!

And during the colder months, I've got a matching unstructured jacket to wear over it. (Or, with jeans or the navy skirt that's in my sewing queue.)

I used Simplicity 1945, which I've made a few times before. I omitted the center back seam to avoid pattern matching and fabric waste.

Zillie models the ensemble, complete with serger thread tails before hemming:

Parting shot: This wonderful fabric is impossible to mark on the wrong side with my preferred washaway markers. I actually tailor-tacked for the first time ever. I felt so faaaannncy. :-)

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The New Dress

Above, my latest finished garment, and I L.O.V.E. it!

Backstory: I have a RTW dress almost exactly like it. I like the RTW dress a lot too and have been wanting to clone it. It's really just a simple knit shift dress with an "open" vee neck with ties. This is the RTW below. I meant to take a pic of it on either me or Zillie, but I forgot. If I think about it later, I'll add such a pic to this post.

I decided I could pretty easily re-create the RTW dress with my TNT Ottobre tee pattern. (I have been using that TNT for ELEVEN years now, it's originally from the 02/2007 issue!) The RTW has sewn bust darts. My TNT does not – it has extra length at the bust area which is eased into the side seam at bust level. I prefer the non-dart version.

Below, is my visual comparison between the RTW dress and my tee pattern, and how I started to assess what was going to be needed in a pattern.

This pic is when I got more serious and took measurements, noting similarities, differences, and necessary landmarks. I'm being "thrifty" (lazy) and using some pattern tissue from patterns I'll never sew as my tracing paper. The red arrows show my lines for the new dress.The rest of the lines are from whatever was originally on the tissue.

I drafted a facing for the front neckline. It's probably really hard to tell what's going on with the lines from the original pattern on the tissue. The pic below is the facing overlaid on the front pattern piece.

Here it is by itself where you can hopefully see the overall shape of the pattern piece, ignoring the printed lines. The only "line" that matters here is where it I drew in "FOLD." Right above FOLD is where the vee shaping is, which is not cut on the fold. Clear?

This is what the actual facing looks like using the pattern piece above. It's interfaced and the bottom edge is serged. The vee is sewn (right sides together) and then turned right side out. The shoulders and armholes are basted together and sewn as one when attaching the sleeves and back. The neck opening where you see the binding is also basted together before the binding is attached. The binding is applied to the raw edge(s) of the neck opening. Easier to do than describe.

The RTW dress has back waist darts, which produce some nice subtle shaping. I measured the end and middle points and the uptake of the existing darts. I transferred those landmarks as big dots to the pattern tissue. The janky looking dart outline is just to give me a visual clue for what those dots mean. In case I put this pattern away for 5 years. Or a week. :-)

Here are the sewn darts. As you can see, there's not a lot of uptake, but enough to lessen the "sack effect" while still camouflaging the back rolls. Hah.

The sleeve is nothing special. Ignore those lines all over from the original pattern. I already had a long sleeve created for my TNT Ottobre. I just traced it for this one so I could keep all the pieces together. Sometimes I'm actually not lazy. It's just a straight sleeve to be elasticated at the wrist, so it doesn't need much shaping.

The elastic cuff.

Below is the RTW neckline. The binding is all one piece, attached in one go, leaving lengths past the neck opening which become ties.

My copy.

I'm still kind of in shock at how perfectly the binding/tie went on my copy. I truly expected to need at least 2-3 tries. I luuuurrvvve my CS machine and binders! And Lady Luck.

Much of the success lies with the fabric used for the binding. It's a Telio doubleknit which has nice body and drape at the same time. I bought this to make a navy Jalie cardi, which is next up on the cutting table, but it turned out to be perfect for this binding/tie too.

Here's the neckline/tie open. I made the point of my vee a little higher than the RTW dress so it's not All Cleavage All The Time with it open.

This is the reverse side of the binding.

It's hard to tell because it blends in so well, but the coverstitch looper was threaded with navy woolly nylon. Since the underside was going to show on the tie sections of the binding, I was hoping the woolly nylon would look more substantial and intentional than plain thread. It does. Yay. The random dog hair, on the other hand, not so much.

And on Zillie. I finished the dress Sunday, hemmed it Monday night after work, and wore it Tuesday (yesterday). I am so happy with it. Most of its success is the fabric, but a lot is the effortlessness of a well-fitting knit sheath. I already bought more of this fabric. It's from Cali Fabrics but going quickly. As of today, there are only 6 yards left. Cali Fabrics is quickly becoming my new favorite fabric store. Great quality, lovely customer service and attention to detail, good prices, and fast shipping to Florida from California! I only wish they'd show more pics of their fabrics so I can get a better feel for drape and scale. (I have never been compensated in any way to say that. I'm just an actual customer spending my own actual money.)

One more pic, in front of Alex's shocking orange truck. Which kind of goes with the dress, no?

Parting shot: Snow, here in Tampa a couple of weeks ago. OK, actually frost. But I still had to scrape my car windshield before work. This is not how it's supposed to work here in Florida.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Late to the Party … Again — True Bias Hudson Pants Review

So, this pattern has been out since mid-2014 and currently has at least 30 reviews on Pattern Review, (plus more if you count the men's and kid's versions and reviews not on PR). I bought it about 2 years ago. Good intentions blah, blah, blah. Finally, its time had come.

Here I am wearing my adjusted second pair with the goofiest of goofy expressions. But you come here for the sewing and chit chat, not my (non)modeling/posing skills. The short verdict is: I love them! My wordier thoughts follow below.

The temps in Tampa dropped quite a bit a couple of weeks ago and I really needed casual long pants for after work, walking the dogs, running to the grocery store, etc. (We're back up to the 80s today, and I'm kind of missing the chillier weather.) Making Hudson Pants had been on my to-do list forEVER but kept getting pushed. And every time I'd want to wear those casual long pants and NOT find them in my wardrobe, I scolded myself for not taking a weekend to Just Sew Them.

Finally, my Hudson sewjo and weekend coincided and I got started. Better two years later than never. My first pair is below. They are the better pair to look at since they have a lot more visual interest than my next solid black pair. The fabrics are deep stash/leftovers from at least 10 years ago. And it holds up like iron. The bomber jacket I made from both the "print" and the solid is still going strong and I wear it on dog walks All. The. Time. This means I now have a dog walking suit. Hahaha. The "print" is a ponte with some, but not a lot, of stretch. It must be poly the way it's not changed at all over the years, but it feels like cotton. I'm pretty sure it's from back in the days that Stephen was still at the helm. The solid is also ponte, a rayon blend I believe.

I don't have a photo of me wearing them. Life is not fair.

The size chart appears less generous than it is in the actual wearing. I had read some reviews from other sewists on the higher end of the measurements reporting plenty of room in their finished Hudsons even though they themselves were quite outside the given numbers. In other words, these are very casual pants with a lot of ease. Basically, if you can pull 34-36" of elastic up and over your butt, you're good with the size 18. (That elastic measurement is about what you'd use in the waistband for the size 18 waist.)

I did make adjustments, though. One, because said other sewists/reviewers have proportionately thin legs. I do not. Two, my "muslin" fabric isn't the stretchiest kid on the block. Or something like that.

While these are not particularly low-rise, my muffin-top waist and cake-eating butt will be better served with a higher cut. (More on this below.) I added one inch to the front and back rise. In the front pattern right below, you can see that said inch was added below the pocket so messing with the pocket pieces would not be required. Yay!

I also added inner thigh space, pointed to by the red arrows, tapering to nothing around knee level.

The pattern calls for 2-inch wide elastic. Of course I did not have any on hand. I "made" my own. It was a little trickier to feed through the casing, but not terrible, and now that it's in and stitched over, I can't even tell it's really two pieces. I will probably never buy 2-inch wide elastic now. Heh.

I also cheated and didn't thread a tie all the way around. I made the buttonholes in the waistband as instructed and then just threaded a short "faux" waist tie through the buttonholes without going around the waist in between. I won't tell if you won't.

This is as close to modeled as we're doing today. (This was actually a week ago.)

Trying on and wearing the brown, first, pair told me I definitely needed more room over the caboose. I could be a plumber in these pants if you catch my drift. I added a wedge to the CB, tapering to nothing at the waist. I also thought I wanted a bit more length in the rise all around. Ultimately, I was wrong about that last part and will go back to adding just 1 inch to the rise, not the 1.5 inches I added for the second, black, pair.

Here's where the second, black, pair hits me ... right over the belly button. I don't mind too much because I'm never going to tuck into these, but if I'm aiming for best fit, they'd be better with 1/2" less height in the rise.

For the black waistband, I cheated even more and completely omitted a tie and the buttonholes. As mentioned, I'm never going to tuck into these pants and the bulge from a tie looks weird under untucked shirts.

The last thing I did differently on both pairs and which step I think is glaringly missing from the instructions and sew-along, is to edgestitch the pocket just past the band. It's a nicer finish and holds everything in place better. Speaking of the pockets ... I feel that they are right on the very edge of being too shallow. They're fine as is. My hands fit. I just want them a little bigger/deeper. I'll alter this for a next pair.

This fabric is from Cali Fabrics, my new favorite online fabric store. Cali calls it "techno knit," which feels very much like a thin scuba. It's nicely stretchy with 100% recovery, comfortable to wear, and doesn't pill. Cali is sold out of black. I hope this is a fabric they will carry again. I know these Hudsons are boring with no contrast and hard to see details but they are definitely a basic I sorely needed in my wardrobe and I'm so happy to have them.

Overall, I think the Hudson Pants is a good pattern. It sews up quickly, the PDF is easy to assemble accurately, not too many pages to tape together, and nothing was out of whack in the pattern pieces or instructions. It was the first True Bias pattern I've tried so I've had a good first impression. I've had my eye on Jalie's similar Vanessa pant and may give into buying that one too, if only to compare. Because I'm weird like that.

This is the realistic shot of how they'll be worn most of the time.